Classic Cars

CLASSIC CLASSICS: 1955 Cadillac Series 62: popular sedan model | Business

CLASSIC CLASSICS: 1955 Cadillac Series 62: popular sedan model |  Business

Several years ago, a classified ad for a 1955 Cadillac Series 62 four-door sedan caught the eye of Franklin Gage. The ad explained that the owner wanted to sell the car so he could spend more time with his family. Gage phoned the owner and found the low-mileage Cadillac to be in original condition except for the paint. But Gage and the owner couldn’t agree on a price and parted ways.

Three months later, Gage was surprised to receive a call from the salesman asking if he was still interested in the luxury car. Yes he was.

The Cadillac Series 62 was all the owner had asked for. When the dark blue Cadillac left the factory, it was light blue. “I’m glad someone professionally painted it dark blue,” Gage said. The darker color seems more in keeping with such a formal automobile.

With only a cursory inspection of the Cadillac and the owner’s assurance, Gage climbed behind the two-spoke steering wheel to drive home for three hours. He had gone into the adventure with the idea that if the car broke down, he would have it towed and rent a car. But the Cadillac’s mechanical health turned out to be better than Gage predicted.

He found that his Series 62 was the most popular model produced by Cadillac in 1955. About 45,000 of the six-passenger sedans were built. His car is equipped with paid accessories, including: air conditioning $620, radio and antenna for $132, heating and ventilation system for $129, electric windows for $108, electric four-way seat for $70 and power brakes for $48. The cost of all these accessories was added to the car’s $3,977 base price.

To help the air conditioner control the climate, the car windows feature EZ-Eye tinted glass. The air conditioner is in the trunk. Air captured by the two scoops at the rear of the car is routed to the air conditioner, after which it is pumped into the cabin through a pair of tubes running from the parcel shelf to the headliner. The tubes are transparent so as not to obstruct the driver’s view to the rear.

Although all four side windows are electrically operated, the front fender vents are still operated with a crank. The rear ventilation windows are simply opened and closed.

A courtesy light under the padded dash ledge illuminates the elegantly padded front seat when either front door is open. Opening one of the rear doors activates the dome light.

The big 331-cubic-inch overhead-valve V8 engine generates 250 horsepower while delivering remarkable efficiency – over 20 mpg – exceptional for a 4,375-pound car.

A set of 8.00 x 15-inch whitewall tires mounted on a 129-inch wheelbase backs the 18-foot-long Cadillac. Hydramatic transmissions became standard equipment on Cadillacs in 1955. A dual-exhaust system was also standard, likely because the rear bumper design required dual pipes.

Because the windows are electric, Gage says he was surprised to learn that the wipers are vacuum operated.

The Florentine curve of the rear roofline is particularly attractive with the still subtle tail fins of the 1955 model. Following Cadillac custom, the gas cap is hidden under the left taillight. “I like driving my car,” he says.

— Vern Parker, Motor Matters

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